Council, buoyed by progress, eyes revitalization efforts

Mac Bullock
Staff writer
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Posted 5/15/19

Members of the Common Council have weighed in on Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo’s State of the City address, delivered last Tuesday. The full text of the address is available …

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Council, buoyed by progress, eyes revitalization efforts

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Members of the Common Council have weighed in on Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo’s State of the City address, delivered last Tuesday.

The full text of the address is available at romesentinel.com.

• “I am cautiously optimistic and excited that the administration has targeted parts of the First Ward for their economic development plans,” Councilor Cam T. Tien, D-1, said.

“The Floyd Avenue and Route 825 corridor with the developments of Woodhaven and B240 sites will have the potential to elevate the value of the
neighborhoods around them. I look forward to being a partner with the administration in these developments,” Tien added.

• Second Ward Councilor John B. Mortise, R, said the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) will play an “absolutely magnificent role” in jumpstarting projects “that we wouldn’t be able to complete” otherwise.

“The growth of projects will be thanks to this grant,” he said.

“The DePaul property project has been a long time in the making,” Mortise continued, referring to the apartment project at the former DeWitt Clinton School site, as has the new Byrne Dairy gas station, both in the Second Ward.

“To see these buildings start to take place by such a great business who stepped forward to start a project of this size in our city is completely amazing. I can’t wait to see this project finished.”

He continued: “The Centro bus transfer station needs to be completed ASAP, as last year it was unacceptable that our residents had to stand in the weather with no heat during the winter months. By this fall, our residents will enjoy a new bus transfer station,” alluding to the mayor’s November deadline for the project.

“I let history speak for itself, whether it’s (something) one has accomplished or a city accomplishes together, our city is moving forward,” Mortise concluded.

• Councilor Kimberly Rogers, R-3, said the address was “very positive and covered a lot of areas.”

“I’m very encouraged by the significant number, scope and scale of the projects currently underway throughout the city. Many of them are happening in the Third Ward, including the recent demolition of the Polka Dot Laundry building,” Rogers said.

“I am also extremely excited about the demolition of the last of the structures at the former Rome Cable site. The residents in that area have had to endure this eyesore and public nuisance for many years and its addition to the state’s Superfund program is a significant accomplishment for Rome.”

She continued: “As the DRI projects move forward, downtown redevelopment is taking shape. More people living in downtown will be key to any successful redevelopment effort and I’m very excited about the Kearney Group’s infill development project.”

• Fourth Ward Councilor Ramona L. Smith, D, called the mayor’s address “comprehensive” and commended the administration “for staying focused on business development in our community.”

Smith said she was “encouraged” by the city’s $1.1 million 2018 budget surplus and by the $630,000 in property returned to the tax rolls through foreclosure. She encouraged the planned development of the Rome Turney and Rome Cable sites, and said that new ventures like Copper City Brewery and Atom 29, soon to be located at 1212 E. Dominick St., “strengthen our economy.”

“The mayor and her staff have done an outstanding job on securing grants for our city,” Smith said, noting that DRI work had already begun and would “place an emphasis on the arts and culture” in Rome, especially with respect to its Capitol Theatre restoration components.

Smith praised the planned Copper City Lofts artist housing development and Griffo Green upgrades as well, both DRI projects.

“I believe that the artist can play a crucial role in contributing to a lively downtown ... The four season green at City Hall and the performing arts corridor can provide a strong link with artists and community members.”

“The mayor and her staff have provided a foundation for economic growth. I believe it’s important to the success of these municipal projects that community members support these activities through positive engagement,” she added.

• Fifth Ward Councilor Frank R. Anderson, R, said the mayor did well to highlight how “extremely fortunate” the city had been “to secure a number of grants over the past few years, and we are now seeing the projects come to fruition.”

“While the economic development projects are very exciting, I was also interested in hearing about how the city did overall financially in 2018,” he continued.

“Although the Common Council is just now starting to hear some of the details, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the 2018 budget audit resulted in a $1.1 million surplus, and increased the total fund balance to over $12 million. I’m very interested in review the auditor’s report, but the initial report sounds very promising,” Anderson continued.

“Improvements in the city’s financial picture allows us to consider completing some of the underfunded projects, such as completing phase three of the northwest Rome water expansion project,” he concluded.

• Councilor Riccardo D. Dursi Jr., R-6, called the mayor’s address “very positive.”

“The mayor, council and all the city employees have all been working very hard to get Rome moving in the right direction,” Dursi said.

“The speech Tuesday has shown that we are making great progress. The city has been very innovative in how to help Rome move forward and I can’t wait to see these many projects completed in the near future,” Dursi added.

• Seventh Ward Councilor A. Robert Tracy, R, commended the administration for securing $40 million in grants since its 2016 inauguration, and said he was hopeful for future development.

“As I told the mayor after her address, I’m impressed that she and her administration really seem to understand that running a municipal government in the 21st century is different” than in years past, Tracy said, explaining that securing grant funding
was key to economic development.

Tracy added it was “exciting to see the plans come to fruition” as work has already begun on DRI projects, among other key investments the city is making.

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